Open access dissemination resonates with many distance education researchers and practitioners because it aligns with their fundmantal mission of extending access to learning opportunity. However, there remains lingering doubt whether this increase in access comes at a cost of reducing prestige, value (often determined in promotion and tenure hearings) or reference of the work by other authors.
In this article, we examine 12 distance education journals (6 open and 6 published in closed format by commercial publishers). Using an online survey completed by members of the editorial boards of these 12 journals and a systematic review of the number of citations per article (N = 1,123) and per journal issue between 2003 and 2008, we examine the impact, and perceived value of the 12 journals.
We then compute differences between open and closed journals. The results reveal that the open access journals are not perceived by distance eductation editors as significantly more or less prestigious than their closed counterparts.
The number of citations per journal and per article also indicates little difference. However we note a trend towards more citations per article in open access journals. Articles in open access journals are cited earlier than in non-open access journals.